Van Buren, Arkansas

Last updated
Van Buren, Arkansas
City of Van Buren
Van Buren collage.png
Clockwise, from top: US 64/US 71B bridge over the Arkansas River, Van Buren Old Frisco Depot, Crawford County Bank Building, Main Street in the Van Buren Historic District, Crawford County Courthouse
Crawford County Arkansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Van Buren Highlighted 0571480.svg
Location of Van Buren in Crawford County, Arkansas.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Van Buren
Coordinates: 35°26′40″N94°20′48″W / 35.44444°N 94.34667°W / 35.44444; -94.34667 Coordinates: 35°26′40″N94°20′48″W / 35.44444°N 94.34667°W / 35.44444; -94.34667
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas
County Crawford
Township(s) Dora, Van Buren
Incorporated January 4, 1845
Named for Martin Van Buren
  Type Mayor–Council
   Mayor Joseph Hurst (I)
   City 16.28 sq mi (42.15 km2)
  Land15.36 sq mi (39.79 km2)
  Water0.91 sq mi (2.37 km2)
401 ft (122 m)
   City 22,791
(2017) [3]
  Density1,530.33/sq mi (590.88/km2)
273,170 (Fort Smith metropolitan area)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 479 Exchange: 471
FIPS code 05-71480
GNIS feature ID0078647
Major airport FSM

Van Buren /vænˈbjʊərən/ is the second largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area and the county seat of Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. [4] The city is located directly northeast of Fort Smith at the Interstate 40  -  Interstate 540 junction. The city was incorporated in 1845 and as of the 2010 census had a population of 22,791, [5] ranking it as the state's 22nd largest city, behind Searcy.

Fort Smith, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 86,209. With an estimated population of 88,037 in 2017, it is the principal city of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 298,592 residents that encompasses the Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian, and the Oklahoma counties of Le Flore and Sequoyah.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Fort Smith metropolitan area human settlement in Arkansas, United States of America

The Fort Smith Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is a five-county area including three Arkansas counties and two Oklahoma counties, and anchored by the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The total MSA population in 2000 was 273,170 people, estimated by the Bureau to have grown to 289,693 people by 2007.



Perspective Map of Van Buren, Ark., County Seat of Crawford County, 1888. by Henry Wellge & Co. Van Buren, Arkansas.png
Perspective Map of Van Buren, Ark., County Seat of Crawford County, 1888. by Henry Wellge & Co.

Early history

The area was settled by David Boyd and Thomas Martin in 1818. After Arkansas became a territory in 1819 Daniel and Thomas Phillips constructed a lumber yard in the community to serve as a fuel depot for traffic along the Arkansas River. In 1831 a post office was constructed for the community, at the time known as Phillips Landing. This post office was named after the newly appointed Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren. [6]

Lumber yard

A lumber yard is a location where lumber and wood-related products used in construction and/or home improvement projects are processed or stored. Some lumber yards offer retail sales to consumers, and some of these may also provide services such as the use of planers, saws and other large machines.

Arkansas River major tributary of the Mississippi River, United States

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.

A post office is a public department that provides a customer service to the public and handles their mail needs. Post offices offer mail-related services such as acceptance of letters and parcels; provision of post office boxes; and sale of postage stamps, packaging, and stationery. In addition, many post offices offer additional services: providing and accepting government forms, processing government services and fees, and banking services. The chief administrator of a post office is called a postmaster.

John Drennen, along with his partner David Thompson, purchased the area for US$11,000. They moved their business of supplying firewood for steamboats to this new location on higher ground. The courthouse was constructed on a lot of land donated by Drennen on the condition that Van Buren become the county seat. The Drennen Reserve is one of the town's existing historical sites from the 1830s. [7]

Van Buren was incorporated on January 4, 1845. [8]

American Civil War

On December 28, 1862, Union and Confederate forces clashed in and around Van Buren resulting in a defeat for Major-General T. C. Hindman, driving him south across the river with minimal casualties. Federal forces captured 100 prisoners, as stated in an official report by U.S. Major-General Samuel R. Curtis. [9]

Union (American Civil War) United States national government during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the Union, also known as the North, referred to the United States of America and specifically to the national government of President Abraham Lincoln and the 20 free states, as well as 4 border and slave states that supported it. The Union was opposed by 11 southern slave states that formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy" or "the South".

Confederate States Army Army of the Confederate States

The Confederate States Army (C.S.A.) was the military land force of the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the American Civil War (1861–1865), fighting against the United States forces. On February 28, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress established a provisional volunteer army and gave control over military operations and authority for mustering state forces and volunteers to the newly chosen Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. Davis was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and colonel of a volunteer regiment during the Mexican–American War. He had also been a United States Senator from Mississippi and U.S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. On March 1, 1861, on behalf of the Confederate government, Davis assumed control of the military situation at Charleston, South Carolina, where South Carolina state militia besieged Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, held by a small U.S. Army garrison. By March 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress expanded the provisional forces and established a more permanent Confederate States Army.

Thomas C. Hindman Confederate States Army general

Thomas C. Hindman was a lawyer, United States Representative from the 1st Congressional District of Arkansas, and Major-General in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

1996 tornado

On April 21, 1996, at 11:12 p.m., a category F3 tornado hit the Fort Smith/Van Buren area causing extensive damage. The tornado, which spawned in Oklahoma and crossed into west Fort Smith near the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, killed two, injured 89 and caused $300 million in damage. The fatalities were small children from Fort Smith. At its worst, the tornado was one half mile across. After leaving the downtown area of Fort Smith, it traveled northeast through industrial and residential sections of north Fort Smith, then crossed the Arkansas River again into the Mount Vista area on the west side of Van Buren and damaged a highly residential area where no fatalities occurred, although this area was very populated at the time. The total distance it traveled on the ground was 7 miles (11 km). In total, there were around 1,800 homes damaged, the majority of which were in Van Buren. [10]

Poteau River river in the United States of America

The Poteau River is a 141-mile (227 km) long river located in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. It is the only river in Oklahoma that flows north and is the seventh largest river in the state. It is a tributary of the Arkansas River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River.

Physical geography

Van Buren is located in the southwest corner of Crawford County at 35°26′40″N94°20′48″W / 35.44444°N 94.34667°W / 35.44444; -94.34667 (35.444339, -94.346737). [11] The Arkansas–Oklahoma state line is 2 miles (3 km) to the west. The Arkansas River forms the southern boundary of the city, separating it from Fort Smith of Sebastian County. Lee Creek flows through the western side of the city into the Arkansas River. According to the United States Census Bureau, Van Buren has a total area of 16.5 square miles (42.7 km2), of which 15.4 square miles (40.0 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2), or 6.34%, is water. [5]

Sebastian County, Arkansas County in the United States

Sebastian County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 125,744, making it the fourth-most populous county in Arkansas. The county has two county seats, Greenwood and Fort Smith.

Lee Creek (Arkansas) river in the United States of America

Lee Creek is a 64.6-mile-long (104.0 km) river in Arkansas and Oklahoma which starts near West Fork in Washington County, Arkansas and flows south to the Arkansas River passing through Crawford County, Arkansas and Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. Lee Creek flows from Arkansas into Oklahoma, then returns to Arkansas before its confluence with the Arkansas River near Van Buren.

United States Census Bureau Bureau of the United States responsible for the census and related statistics

The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States.


Van Buren lies within a humid subtropical climate area. The city also lies on the eastern edge of the region known as Tornado Alley. Average temperatures range from 36°F in January, to as high an average of 81 °F in July [12] with temperatures reaching the high 90s and low 100s in August. The average annual temperature is approximately 60 °F. Average precipitation is about 41 total inches, with only six inches being snow.

July and August are the hottest months of the year, with an average high of 93 °F (34 °C) and an average low of 71.5 °F (21.9 °C). Temperatures above 100 °F (37.8 °C) are not uncommon, occurring on average eleven times a year. December and January are the coldest months with an average high of 50.5 °F (10.3 °C) and an average low of 30 °F (−1 °C). Highs below 32 °F (0.0 °C) occur on average five times a year, with 0.2 nights per year dropping below 0 °F (−17.8 °C). The city's highest temperature was 113 °F (45.0 °C), recorded in 1936. The lowest temperature recorded was −15 °F (−26.1 °C), in 1899.

Climate data for Van Buren, Arkansas
Record high °F (°C)81
Average high °F (°C)50
Average low °F (°C)29
Record low °F (°C)−11
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.81
Average snowfall inches (cm)1.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source #1: NOAA [13]
Source #2: The Weather Channel [14]
Arkansas River In Van Buren, Arkansas.jpg
View of the Arkansas River from Meyer Park, 2013


Historical population
1850 549
1860 97978.3%
1870 9850.6%
1880 1,0294.5%
1890 2,291122.6%
1900 2,57312.3%
1910 3,87850.7%
1920 5,22434.7%
1930 5,182−0.8%
1940 5,4224.6%
1950 6,41318.3%
1960 6,7875.8%
1970 8,37323.4%
1980 12,02043.6%
1990 14,97924.6%
2000 18,98626.8%
2010 22,79120.0%
Est. 201723,509 [3] 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [15]

As of the census [16] of 2000, there were 18,986 people, 6,947 households, and 5,182 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,260.7 people per square mile (486.8/km²). There were 7,427 housing units at an average density of 493.2 per square mile (190.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.37% White, 1.64% Black or African American, 1.96% Native American, 2.82% Asian, 3.17% from other races, and 3.03% from two or more races. 6.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 6,947 households, of which 40.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% are classified as non-families by the United States Census Bureau. Of 6,947 households, 362 are unmarried partner households: 304 heterosexual, 12 same-sex male, and 46 same-sex female households. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,608, and the median income for a family was $37,198. Males had a median income of $28,798 versus $21,201 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,948. About 13.5% of families and 16.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.

Economy and infrastructure

Main Street, 2013 Main Street in Van Buren, AR.jpg
Main Street, 2013

Van Buren is home to many large corporations within the state and employs a great deal of the city's population within its Port and Industrial Park district. Manufacturing, food processing, and medicine are sustaining industries in Van Buren. Major employers include poultry processors Tyson Foods and Simmons, the Van Buren School District, USA Truck, and Sparks Medical Center - Van Buren.


Arts and architecture

Historic bank building, 2009 Vanburennark.jpg
Historic bank building, 2009

Van Buren is home of the King Opera House, a Victorian-style performance hall from the late 19th century, part of the old downtown historic area. At the south end of the historical downtown is the Crawford County courthouse, the oldest functioning courthouse west of the Mississippi River. To the north is the Old Frisco Station which was originally a station on the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, pictured at the top of this page.


As part of the primary Fort Smith metropolitan area, many Fort Smith based television stations including KHBS and KFSM, whose radio mast is built in Van Buren, provide local news and weather. The city's major newspaper is the Van Buren Press Argus-Courier, however many people also read Fort Smith's Southwest Times Record, as well as the Northwest Edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette .


Van Buren's location at the junction of Interstate 40, Interstate 540, and the Arkansas/Oklahoma border yields surprisingly large tourism and hospitality industries. The city is also located at the junction of several state and U.S. highways including Arkansas Highway 59, US 64, and US 71. A private airport, Twin Cities Airport (code 39AR), [17] was operational to the southeast of the city, but has been closed for many years. Modern railroads in the city include the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.


The Van Buren School District is the largest school district in Crawford County, consisting of six elementary schools (grades K-5), two middle schools (grades 6-8), one ninth grade academy (grade 9) and one high school (grades 10-12). The Van Buren High School is in the 6A/7A-Central Division of Arkansas high school sports.

Sites of interest

King Opera House, 2007 King Opera House, Van Buren, Arkansas.jpg
King Opera House, 2007

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Pierre, South Dakota State capital city in South Dakota, United States

Pierre is the capital of the U.S. state of South Dakota and the seat of Hughes County. The population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second-least populous state capital in the United States, following only Montpelier, Vermont, and the eighth-most populous city in South Dakota.

Van Buren County, Arkansas County in the United States

Van Buren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,295. The county seat is Clinton. The county was formed on November 11, 1833, and named for Martin Van Buren, President of the United States, who was Vice President at the time of the county's formation. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

Crawford County, Arkansas County in the United States

Crawford County is a county located in the Ozarks region of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 61,948, making it the 12th-most populous of Arkansas's 75 counties. The county seat and largest city is Van Buren. Crawford County was formed on October 18, 1820 from the former Lovely County and Indian Territory, and was named for William H. Crawford, the United States Secretary of War in 1815.

Siloam Springs, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Siloam Springs is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The city shares a border on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line with the city of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, which is within the Cherokee Nation territory. The town was founded in 1882 and was characterized by the purported healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek and trading with nearby Native American tribes. John Brown University (JBU) was founded in 1919 as a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in the city. Today, Siloam Springs is known for its efforts to preserve and revitalize the city's historic downtown and as a promoter of the arts via Sager Creek Arts Center and the JBU art gallery. The community is located on the western edge of the growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and has had a population increase of 47% to 15,039 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

Fairfield Bay, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fairfield Bay is a city in Cleburne and Van Buren counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The population was 2,338 at the 2010 census. The population in its portion in Van Buren County, which accounts for the bulk of the city limits, made the city the most populous in Van Buren County as of the 2000 census, but with a slight decline in population, lost the distinction to Clinton as of 2010.

Cedarville, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Cedarville is a city in Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,394 at the 2010 census.

Dyer, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Dyer is a city in Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 876 at the 2010 census.

Kibler, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Kibler is a city in Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 Census the population was 961.

Mountainburg, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Mountainburg is a town in Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census the population was 631.

Des Arc, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Des Arc is a city on the White River in the Arkansas Delta, United States. It is the largest city in Prairie County, Arkansas, and the county seat for the county's northern district. Incorporated in 1854, Des Arc's position on the river has shaped its culture, history, and economy, beginning as a major lumber shipping port but leaving the city vulnerable to major floods in 1927 and 1937. As river shipping declined, Des Arc was bypassed by railroads, Interstate highways, and much of the post-industrial society. Des Arc's history is preserved by seven listings on the National Register of Historic Places, and the region's history is interpreted at Lower White River State Park. The city's population stopped growing in the 1980s and has been declining since, with a population of 1,717 at the 2010 Census.

Clinton, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Clinton is the county seat of Van Buren County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,602 at the 2010 census, making it the most populous city in the county. The city was named for DeWitt Clinton, the New York governor who built the Erie Canal; he had also been a U.S. Senator from New York.

Augusta, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Augusta is a city in Woodruff County, Arkansas, United States, located on the east bank of the White River. The population was 2,693 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Woodruff County.

Van Buren Township, St. Louis County, Minnesota Township in Minnesota, United States

Van Buren Township is a township in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. It was named for Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. The population was 189 at the 2010 census.

Van Buren, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Van Buren is a city that is the county seat of Carter County, Missouri, in the United States. It is the largest town in Carter County. Van Buren was founded in 1833 as the county seat of Ripley County and was named after then Vice President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. In 1859 Van Buren became a part of the newly created Carter County and was subsequently selected to be the county seat. The 2010 U.S. Census shows Van Buren with a population of 819, a decrease of 3.1 percent from its 2000 population of 845.

Defiance, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Defiance is a city in and the county seat of Defiance County, Ohio, United States, about 55 miles (89 km) southwest of Toledo and 47 miles (76 km) northeast of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in Ohio's northwestern corner. The population was 16,494 at the 2010 census.

Arkoma, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Arkoma is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,989 at the 2010 census, a decline from 2,180 in 2000. The name of the town is a portmanteau of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Throughout its history, Arkoma has served as a "bedroom community" because many residents commuted to work in Fort Smith.

Spiro, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Spiro is a town in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,164 at the 2010 census, a 2.8 percent decline from 2,227 at the 2000 census.


  1. "Van Buren". Arkansas Municipal League. 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  2. "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 22, 2018.
  3. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  4. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. 1 2 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Van Buren city, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  6. History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Higginson Book Company. 1889. p. 526.
  7. "Brief History of Van Buren, AR" . Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  8. Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
  9. "The Battle of Van Buren, Arkansas - Encounter at Dripping Springs" . Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  10. Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  12. "Fort Smith USA, Weather History and Climate Data" . Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  13. "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  14. "Monthly Averages for Van Buren, AR (72956)" (Table). The Weather Channel . Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  15. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. "FAA Coded Departure Routes" (CSV). Retrieved 2007-08-22.

Further reading

General information